‘One Class’ grant comes full circle for teacher

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Elm Grove Middle School's Spencer Kiper received a $1,000 grant recently.

Story by Sonja Bailes, public relations liaison for Bossier Parish Schools

It was 2006 but Spencer Kiper remembers it as if it was yesterday.

He was in high school, in the middle of a lesson, when a camera crew from KTBS surprised his teacher, announcing she had won the “One Class At A Time” grant.

It came full circle Wednesday when Kiper was the one being applauded. The STEM Apps teacher at Elm Grove Middle School walked into a gym full of students who yelled “Surprise!” when he entered. Representatives from KTBS 3 and Barksdale Federal Credit Union then appeared, bearing a large check, announcing he had won $1,000 for his grant proposal.

“I’ve been trying for a big check,” Kiper said after the news sank in. “It will be money well-spent. The $1,000 is nothing compared to the investment being made in these kids.”

Kiper wrote a grant to buy Little Bits, which are kits containing magnetic circuitry components that students can manipulate and learn from. No coding is required and because of the magnets there is no need to wire or solder the parts together, which enables the kits to be reused.

Kiper recently bought two kits, after learning about them over the summer, and his STEM students were clamoring for more. The grant will enable him to purchase four additional sets for the classroom.

“They love them,” Kiper said of his students’ interest in Little Bits. “I’m able to bridge the gap between middle school knowledge and prepare them for STEM careers, engineering programs like at Louisiana Tech and increase their interest in high school.”

Barksdale Federal Credit Union and Suddenlink are sponsors of the KTBS “One Class At A Time” grant.